If you aren’t on social media much, you might not know that Marie Kondo is a lovely lady currently famous for her organizational skills. One piece of advice is to purge your belongings and only keep things that “spark joy.” If you aren’t a close acquaintance of our family, you may not know that our Granny Grubbs was a farm wife who lived through the depression, saved the cigars (wrapped in tissue paper) from wedding chivarees, and washed paper plates to save them after family gatherings.
I’m looking for a balance.
(Side note: the Urban Dictionary defines a chivaree as “a noisy, mock serenade made by banging pans and kettles to a newly married couple” They left out the part about dumping the groom in the pond, hanging underwear from the trees, and holding the bride for ransom until the groom forks over cigars and refreshment. Obviously, the writer of the Urban Dictionary did not live in our neighborhood.)
Anyway, back to organizing our home. We’ve just moved, and although we thought we had purged a couple of times in the past decades, we were wrong. Our belongings took on a whole new weight and square footage when transferred to boxes that must be packed, lugged, unpacked, and put … somewhere. This morning, I set out to deal with a few of those boxes and belongings. Unfortunately, I came to the “Keepsakes” box. Here is where Marie Kondo and Granny Grubbs butted heads.
I WANT that 30th birthday card from my mother, telling me how it felt the first time she held me in her arms and hoping that the next thirty years would be wonderful. (Wish granted, Mama. They have been.) And what about this essay from my former pastor describing my preacher grandfather who died more than forty years ago? Brother Raymond ends with imagining what it will be like to greet Grandpa Adair in Heaven one day. He wrote the essay for a friend of mine who was in college at the time. She wanted it for a class. This spring, she stepped into Glory and probably saw my grandpa give his signature wave.
What if I’d thrown that essay away twenty years ago because I thought I’d never forget?
I did, Dear Reader.
I forgot Brother Raymond wrote the essay. I forgot Pam gave me a copy. And I almost forgot the way my grandpa said, “Why now, just look who is here!”
So, I’ve brought these two ladies to a compromise. Some of the big, blue binders must go. The birthday cards, get well wishes, wedding announcements, and grade school stories will be scanned into a digital form and saved until the Cloud disappears. (more technology talk). And, I’m getting one of those shadow box things young mothers use to display rotating pieces of childhood artwork. This month, I might display my father’s army photo along with one of the three letters he sent me in his lifetime.
Next month, it will probably be a Father’s Day note from the little girl who is celebrating her 22nd wedding anniversary. You see where I’m going here? Digital is great. I want the back-up. Clearing the clutter is perfection. It frees my mind and my soul. But, sometimes, I need to hold a thin piece of paper in my hand and run my finger across the ink that flowed from my mother’s pen. Sometimes, I need to touch stuff. Because that sparks the joy.